June in bloom…and it’s time to Prune!

June in bloom…and it’s time to Prune!

June is here in all its glory! It’s time for roses and astilbes, lupines and Baptisias. The early daylilies are starting to flower and the perennial bachelor’s buttons are in their glory. It’s time to get your cucumbers and squash seeds in

Just arrived- ‘Besame Mucho’ repeat blooming daylilies!

the ground. It’s time to FEED your hanging baskets and annual planters. It’s time to PINCH your asters and other perennials to avoid staking and double the color this summer. It’s time to fill in your gaps with new perennials and ground covers. It’s time to plant your Asclepias for the monarchs and plant all kinds of nectar flowers for the swallowtails and other butterflies that have arrived. It’s time to get outside and ENJOY your garden while you sit and watch for hummingbirds. 

This week we are having THREE exciting workshops. On Sunday, June 10th  at 1pm Diane is offering the first of her TRAINING SESSIONS so you can Learn to Raise Monarch Butterflies. There are still spots left, but please pre-

register SOON (details below). We have already found monarch eggs! Our common milkweed and other forms of Asclepias have arrived. Let the monarch raising season begin with education. Last year Natureworks raised over 1000 monarch butterflies from eggs and caterpillars we found here in our gardens. This year we want YOU to raise them too. We are stocking up on hatching boxes, mesh cages, hand lenses so you can easily spot the eggs and baby caterpillars, and our beloved reference books. 

We just restocked this wonderful butterfly nectar flower called- Verbena-on-a-stick (Verbena bonariensis). It makes a great cut flower too.

Speaking of milkweed, do you understand the difference between the various

Tropical milkweed being devoured by a monarch butterfly caterpillar 

species of Asclepias? Our goal is to match you with the right kind for your property. If you have LOTS of room or perhaps a wild area, you should plant common milkweed. Once established, it spreads a LOT. If you don’t have a lot of space, consider other species of Asclepias. Don’t worry, they are all excellent larval food plants for the monarchs. See the article below to learn which Asclepias is right for you. 

I have starting pinching my fall blooming asters and I take a LOT off! Look closely at the cuttings on the ground above. Come to one of our two workshops this week and learn how.
This Thursday evening at 5:30 pm and again Saturday morning at 10 am I will be leading one of our most important and popular walks of the spring on pinching and pruning perennials. I call it Double your Color with Half the Work. This is based on the research by Tracy DiSabato-Aust in her book The Well Tended Perennial Garden. We consider this the BIBLE for anyone who grows perennials. Basically, I will explain how to cut back many summer and fall blooming perennials to avoid staking and to double the amount of time that they bloom in your garden. Get here early as we will start with the basic principles in the teaching tent and then move to the gardens. This walk always elicits gasps as people see just how much I cut off. Be brave! Be daring! But understand the concept first. I tell my crews “if you are not walking out of the garden in June with tarploads of clippings, you are not bold enough!” They all know how to do this and it makes our summer and fall borders so lush and colorful. 
Floating row covers, organic fertilizer, seeds galore, and a wonderful selection of books are here to help you have the best organic garden EVER this year!

Tune in this Thursday at 5 pm for Facebook Live. If you are joining me on the walk, come early and be in the audience! This week I will explain what to plant NOW from seed- and WHY. The list is long. Cucumbers and summer

squashes lead the list, along with colorful, easy to sprout annual flowers like sunflowers, nasturtiums, and zinnias. Dill and cilantro need to be seeded in regularly until your patch begins to self sow (they bolt to seed quickly in the heat). Calendulas, melons, beans of all kinds, baby pumpkins, cosmos and so much more can all be planted now into our warm ground. The seeds literally explode from the earth so fast! As my spinach, radishes, broccoli raab, and early lettuces are harvested from my gardens, I am steadily replanting. You should too. Just keep planting! It’s quick and easy and, with seed, very inexpensive. We still have tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillo seedlings in stock. Not all varieties are here, but there are plenty to fill any space in your garden. Last Sunday I put together the first of three new 4′ by 6′ cedar raised beds in the sunniest part of my yard. The kits we sell are so easy to install and then, voila! Room for my San Marzano tomatoes and more basil. Next weekend two more beds go in for cucumbers and squash beds and TONS of zinnia seeds. 

Have you planted enough fresh herbs? I love this time of year because I can go out with a picking basket and harvest so many delicious herbs every day. My meals are based on my harvests. Have you ever grown lemon grass? This is a wonderful tender perennial that grows up in a vase shape. I use it in the center of my containers as an spiky accent. The stems are great in tea, and chopped fine add a wonderful flavor to fish and chicken. It is integral to many Thai dishes. I also grow lemon verbena- the most intense lemon herb I know. I dry it for the winter and infuse it in water for a refreshing beverage all summer long. I just took home Tulsi (holy basil) an aromatic, powerful healing herb. We have all sorts of lavenders, thymes, beautiful rosemary plants, pineapple sage (yes, the leaves DO smell of pineapple and the brilliant red flowers are hummingbird magnets), culinary sage in many colors, and edible ‘Lemon Gem’ marigolds. We have restocked on comfrey (which we harvest for a mineral mulch) and calendulas, another edible flower that makes a healing salve. We have all kinds of beautiful scented geraniums. Let us help you broaden your herbal horizons. They not only are good for us, they help to feed the beneficial insect, pollinators, and butterflies. We will be featuring workshops on herbs later this month and throughout the summer. Stay tuned. 

This weekend I was SO in love with my roses, both at Natureworks and at home. I can’t believe how beautiful they are this year. So many customers LOVE roses and yet some of our customers appear to be afraid of roses. Don’t be! They are so worth growing and we can teach you how to do so organically. Pruning and feeding in spring and July are the keys and guess what? We have free garden walks to demonstrate that. Spray once with Neem for the rose sawfly in late May. That’s not too hard. Select hardy varieties and enjoy. Click Here to link to our rose handout on line. Click Here to link to our Facebook Live video on roses. Then add roses to your landscape and you too will be in love with them at this time of year, throughout the summer, and into late fall.
To encourage you to try a rose of your own, or add to your collection,  
ALL IN STOCK ROSES ON SALE FOR 20% OFF – 6/6 to 6/20! 
I have stockpiled a lot of Lychnis chalcedonica (Maltese cross) perennials this year because EVERY year when this terrific, hardy perennial blooms in our gardens, we run out. Talk about a head turner. It also is a classic hummingbird nectar flower, shown here growing up through a bed of catmint (Nepeta). It’s been in this garden by the road for years and years. 


It is important to begin feeding your hanging plants and container annuals soon. We have had a lot of regular rain and that leaches nitrogen. If your plants are not lush, dark green, and full of flowers, topdress them with Healthy Grow Bulb and Bloom food (sprinkle it on the top of the soil of pots or hanging baskets) or water with Neptune’s Harvest liquid fertilizer. We fed all of the hanging baskets in the nursery last week. 
Another new arrival: ‘Firefly’ hydrangea with burgundy leaves and beautiful bicolor flowers. This blooms on old AND new wood so it is a great choice for CT gardens. Grows only 3-4′ tall. 

June is such a lovely month. It is peak bloom for so many shrubs, perennials, and vines and it is when we have the most diverse selection of unusual annuals and herbs. It is a joy to arrive at work, walk the gardens and peruse the displays. There is something new to see at every turn. It’s hard to leave, even though my OWN gardens are exploding and beckon me outside each evening. Make time to visit this week, take advantage of our educational workshops, and ENJOY your garden to its fullest. These are the glory days that we wait for all year. I hope to see you at Natureworks very soon…


Macrame is back, houseplants are back, and we have a great selection!


P.S. This Saturday is our next EARLY BIRD SALE. Arrive between 7:30 and 9:00 am and you will be given a $5 gift card good on any purchase of $20 or more. We will be serving free organic coffee too. 
P.P.S. All in stock ROSES are on sale for 20% off 6/6-6/20!